Scotland politics

General election 2017: May visits Scotland as campaigns resume

theresa may Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Theresa May spoke in Edinburgh alongside Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson

Theresa May has been in Scotland as part of a whistle-stop tour of the UK as the general election campaign enters its final days.

The prime minister's visit came as election campaigning got under way again following Saturday night's terror attack in London.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon faced questions from the public in a BBC Question Time special in Edinburgh.

The programme also featured Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron.

It had originally been scheduled to be broadcast on Sunday evening, but was postponed in the wake of the London attack.

Speaking at a rally in Edinburgh, the prime minister warned of Labour taking power with the backing of the SNP in the event of a hung parliament.

She said: "The fact is, if we lose just six seats, the government loses its majority. That means Jeremy Corbyn in Number 10, and Nicola Sturgeon pulling the strings from Bute House.

"But I think there is another question as well - who do you trust to strengthen the bonds across this United Kingdom? Who do you trust to stand up for our precious union?

"Me - I'm a passionate unionist. I want to ensure the United Kingdom stays together, and we strengthen those bonds across the whole of the United Kingdom.

"Or Jeremy Corbyn, negotiating with the SNP for a second referendum which he says is 'absolutely fine' by him. I think he's going to find out there's a different view from the Scottish people."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Nicola Sturgeon resumed a helicopter tour of key constituencies

Nicola Sturgeon, who spent the day campaigning in a number of seats, said she was not in favour of coalitions but she would want the SNP to be part of a "progressive alternative" to the Tories.

However, speaking on BBC Radio Four's Women's Hour programme, she said she believed the Conservatives were still on course to win the election UK-wide.

She said: "If the parliamentary arithmetic after the election supported this, I would want the SNP to be part of a progressive alternative to a Tory government.

"I don't favour formal coalitions, I'm talking about something which would be much more on an issue-by-issue basis to make sure we had a government which invested in public services not cut them, and supported pensioners' rights not undermined them.

"But I've also said very clearly that, albeit the polls have narrowed, I still think the likelihood is that the Tories will win this election. But it's no longer inevitable that Theresa May will have a bigger majority, and Scotland could stop that happening by making sure we don't elect Tory MPs."

Image copyright kezia dugdale
Image caption Kezia Dugdale has ruled out any formal deal between the SNP and Labour at Westminster

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has previously said Mr Corbyn has "absolutely 100% refuted any prospect" of any pact or deal with the SNP.

Launching a new party election broadcast, she said: "On Thursday, people can send Nicola Sturgeon a message that she should focus on the day job, rather than forcing another independence referendum that people in Scotland don't want.

"After 10 years of the SNP campaigning for independence, Scotland's schools and hospitals have suffered. Nicola Sturgeon's answer is another referendum - she is playing a broken record.

"On Thursday, voters can elect a Labour MP who will spend every day fighting for local services, or they can elect an SNP MP who will spend every day campaigning for another divisive independence referendum."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Lib Dem leader Tim Farron was out on the campaign trail in East Dunbartonshire

Meanwhile, Mr Farron visited two of the Liberal Democrats' key target areas, Edinburgh West and East Dunbartonshire, as his party fights to win the seats back from the SNP.

He said his party was the only "plausible alternative", both to the SNP and to the Conservatives.

He said: "In many parts of Scotland we are the only plausible alternative to a divisive nationalist government, who does nothing in Westminster but bang on about independence.

"But across the whole of the UK let's remember this is an election Theresa May called herself and is expecting a landslide majority. Let's just remind ourselves that unless Nicola Sturgeon goes on an aggressive foreign policy south of the border, she can only gain one seat off the Tories.

"The Labour Party are expecting to lose dozens of seats to the Tories and some to the Liberal Democrats.

"That leaves the one party that you can vote for with some hope of stopping the Conservatives getting that landslide is the Liberal Democrats."